1) How would you describe your poetry?
I write in many different forms, some traditional, some homegrown. One of my favorite forms are zuihitsu and haibun because they mix prose and verse. I like the narrative poem but not necessarily a linear treatment of the narrative. I also like writing persona poems. I identify with what the poet Saeed Jones calls a queer poetics – “queer” according to Jones, “implies a slipperiness, a subversion of expectations and conventions, and inability to sit still, a refusal to obey.”
2) How does poetry fit into your everyday life?
Poetry is how I sustain my life in the everyday, every day.
3) What poets and/or authors inspire you?
My legacy poets are Langston Hughes and Lucille Clifton. I enjoy many modern and contemporary poets and who I am inspired by changes. Currently I am inspired by the work of Toi Derricotte, Bhanu Kapil, Kimiko Hahn, Terrance Hayes, and Garcia Lorca.
4) How does the community of Philadelphia play a part in your poetry?
From 1971 – 1975, I attended Beaver College, now known as Arcadia, in Glenside, PA. After college I settled in Philadelphia for several years and was active with Alexandria Bookstore, Hera Feminist newspaper and Rites of Women Theatre Collective. I served briefly as poetry editor for Hera and I wrote material performed by Rites of Women.
5) What is the last book you have read that you enjoyed? Tell our Big Blue Marble community a little about it.
The last book I have read that I really enjoyed is Toi Derricotte’s, “The Undertaker’s Daughter.” This is an amazing collection of poems that are honest, soul searing, complex and brave. It is part memoir and reminds me of Lucille Clifton’s “The Good Woman” in that the first part of the book let’s us look inside of Derricotte and get a glimpse of what she is made of. We come to know her demons and her overcoming. Some of the poems are whimsical and playful and in reading this work we get to witness a true master at work.
Monica A. Hand is a poet and book artist currently living in Harlem, USA. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Aunt Chloe, Black Renaissance Noire,The Sow’s Ear, Drunken Boat, Beyond the Frontier, African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decadeand elsewhere. She holds a MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University, and is a founding member of Poets for Ayiti.
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